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Published On: Mon, Mar 23rd, 2020

Shivraj Singh Chouhan to become Madhya Pradesh CM again

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shivraj-696x392NEW DELHI/ BHOPAL : Decks cleared for former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to become the state’s chief minister again as he was elected as the BJP legislature party leader on Monday.
Chouhan was slated to meet Governor Lalji Tandon later and formally stake claim for forming BJP government in the state. Presently the BJP national vice president and three times former CM, Shivraj Singh Chouhan is likely to be sworn as state’s 19th CM at a simple ceremony at the Raj Bhawan at 9 pm, after which he could chair an emergency meeting of state government on the rising Coronavirus threat.
Stating that the meeting was held through video conferencing, the BJP leader said: “All our best wishes to him as once again he takes over as CM of Madhya Pradesh! This was the first such meeting held via video conferencing!”
A media report quoted sources as saying that the swearing-in ceremony will be held at the Raj Bhawan in Bhopal at 9 pm on Monday. Earlier, the names of Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and former Madhya Pradesh minister Narottam Mishra were initially doing the round for the hot seat.
Following the fall of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government, the names of Tomar and Mishra were on the top. But finally, the BJP picked up three-time chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for the top post.
The report quoted BJP leaders as saying on Monday that the party needs to choose a leader and stake claim quickly as the state urgently requires a functional government in view of the outbreak of coronavirus.
As Madhya Pradesh was going through a political crisis, Chauhan was part of BJP’s top-level strategists discussing the issue in Delhi when the saffron party could manage to get the support of 22 Congress MLAs. The former chief minister also led the BJP petition in Supreme Court against Kamal Nath government’s refusal to take a floor test.
“Owing to the Coronavirus threat, this is possibly the first time that a legislature party is being conducted through remote control (video conferencing),” said Sahastrabudhe.
On combating Coronavirus threat, Chouhan said nothing else, but combating the Coronavirus threat is the utmost priority and indicated holding a meeting of top officials to take stock of the situation and devise strategies to combat the growing threat.

Earlier at the meeting, Chouhan’s name for legislature party leader was proposed by outgoing legislature party leader and Leader of Opposition Gopal Bhargava, who had quit as the legislature party leader just an hour before the meeting.
“I pray to god that the BJP doesn’t have to sit in opposition ever in future and no one in the party has to become Leader of Opposition again,” said Bhargava. The proposal moved by Bhargava was supported by various MLAs, including Gopilal Jatav and ex-minister Narottam Mishra, who was himself a contender for the top post.

New government formation was necessitated by the fall of the 15-month-old Kamal Nath-led Congress government on Friday.  The fall was the Congress government was scripted by the resignation of 22 Jyotiraditya Scindia loyalist MLAs on March 10, just a few hours after Scindia resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP later.

In the present 205-member Vidhan Sabha, the BJP has 106 seats which is three more than simple majority figure of 103, while the Congress has 92 MLAs. One of the four independents and outgoing mining minister Pradeep Jaiswal, who had supported the Congress government for 15 month has already announced supporting the new government.
There are two other contenders in Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, a Modi-Shah confidant and good friend of Chouhan who served as state party president when he was chief minister, and state BJP chief Vishnu Dutt Sharma.

However, according to sources, the two upper caste leaders are unlikely to make the cut over Chouhan, a member of the other backward classes. Also, said one source, Chouhan only put in efforts in the recent machinations when the BJP high command assured him that he would lead the battle.
“Tomar is a good organiser but at this juncture he can’t ensure wins of defected MLAs,” the source added. Vijayvargiya said he didn’t expect a role in Madhya Pradesh given that he had “big work” to do in West Bengal ahead of the 2021 assembly polls.
“I am doing big work assigned by Amit Shah to defeat the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal,” said Vijayvargiya. “This is much bigger work and it is not completed yet… So there is little question of my candidature… Shivraj ji is at the helm of affairs and the party will select a leader after the trust vote.”
(With Bureau Report in Bhopal)

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